France, Denmark play out tame snoozefest
IT was the result Australia feared but in the end it didn't matter that France and Denmark played out a tame 0-0 draw in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
It was a result that suited both teams. France qualify as group winners and Denmark the runners-up and both will continue in the World Cup as Australia goes home.
Denmark was never going to play an expansive game when all it needed was a point to qualify for the round of 16.
It regularly sat back and played with five defenders, protected by another group of four midfielders not far in front of them.
Denmark may be through but they are difficult to watch.
You could make a convincing case they were outplayed in all three games, but they are heading to the round of 16, while Australia and Peru are not..
France will play one of Argentina, Nigeria or Iceland, depending on results overnight, while Denmark faces the impressive Croatia.
It wasn't pretty to watch as even their star man Christian Eriksen, spent much of his time tracking back and plugging holes in the midfield, even if he still managed to give the Danes their only moments of hope.
Denmark was happy to cede possession to the France team and hoick it up the park at the first sniff of danger.
But that's a risky game, no team relies as much as France on the individual moment of brilliance to change games.
France is more a collection of 11 individuals than a team, but some of those individuals are phenomenal and capable of matchwinning moments all on their own.
Even when France coach Didier Deschamps decided to rest six key players, including last-time goalscorer Kylian Mbappe, captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, saving their energy for tougher games ahead.
Not that the French were without talent. Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann, although he remains strangely out of sorts, were still there, and the reinforcements included Barcelona star Ousmane Dembele, Sevilla's Steven Nzonzi and Monaco's in-demand forward Thomas Lemar.
But the understudies did little to impress.
Much of the game was played at walking place as if both teams were just keen to get this 90 minutes out of the way without too much damage.
It had the feel of a friendly more than a game in the World Cup finals and the crowd in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium were less than impressed booing and whistling both teams for their lack of intensity.
You couldn't quite call it match fixing but neither was either team doing their utmost to win.